Hudgens: Ga. already allowing health plan renewal - CBS46 News

Hudgens: Ga. already allowing health plan renewal

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA/AP) -

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens says he's not surprised that President Barack Obama has announced changes temporarily allowing insurers to keep offering plans that otherwise would have been canceled under the federal health care law.

Hudgens said Thursday in an interview that Georgia had already been allowing consumers to renew their existing policies early so they would be able to keep them next year.

Earlier Thursday, Obama announced the changes at the White House and acknowledged his administration had fumbled the rollout of the law.

Hudgens says he knew early on that "every mandate costs money" and that consumers would save money if allowed to renew their existing policy.

He says up to 400,000 Georgia residents could lose their policy because it doesn't meet minimum standards under the law.

Read the statement released by Hudgens:

"At best, yesterday's announcement only delayed the breaking of the President's promise for a year. After discussions with federal authorities and carefully reviewing the scant information that was released following the President's press conference, I realize that yesterday's proposal was nothing more than a political stunt designed to remove the growing momentum towards much-needed change and shift the blame from the President's flawed healthcare reform.

"After three years of implementing a law which required insurers to cancel policies that many Georgians prefer, President Obama announced that he will selectively choose not to enforce those provisions in 2014. While I encourage insurers to offer consumers as many options as permitted, I lack the statutory authority to force insurers to provide the stop-gap measure that the President created yesterday. Insurance companies have spent years preparing for Obama's law, now the President has given them six weeks to temporarily undo its damage.

"This is not Obamacare's only broken promise, but it is the first broken promise acknowledged by the President. Premiums have risen since the law was passed and are set to skyrocket in 2014. The website does not work, and many high-quality family physicians and specialists will be excluded from the Obamacare networks in 2014.

"The President needs to make substantive reforms, not engage in political half-measures like we witnessed yesterday. I urge Democrats and Republicans in Washington to come together and work on market-based healthcare reforms that will work for Georgia."

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